Early season time trial build, 12 weeks

Average Weekly Training Hours 07:58
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 07:58
Training Load By Week

The most critical period of training for race performance is the specific work you do in the 8-12 weeks immediately prior to your target race. However, in order to make the most of that crucial final window, it is essential to have a comprehensive build up that prepares you to complete the hardest sessions and highest training load in those last weeks. This plan serves that purpose, by increasing the amount of training load you can handle and starting to lift your fitness in the areas that are crucial to time trial success. This means a focus on pushing up your Functional Threshold Power (FTP, or MLSS, lactate turn point etc if you are used to other terminology). This must be done in such a way that you leave a little extra in the tank for the final build - it is important not to peak too soon so this plan offers a steady, progressive increase that will offer a solid and long lasting platform upon which to add your race specific fitness.

The aims of this plan are to:

1) Continue to build work capacity by including extended riding in zone 3

2) Begin to lift your sustainable riding power by including a large volume of sub-FTP riding

3) Include some high intensity training to prepare for event specific training following this build

It is expected that this plan will typically be preceded by 6-8 weeks of base endurance training, or more experienced riders can drop straight into this after a short break following their previous target event.

The plan is based around 3 training blocks, each with a slightly different aim. The time commitment is no greater than 8 hours per week, typically with a longer ride on the weekend and 2 or 3 shorter midweek rides. There is also an optional ride included where appropriate, so that you can tailor the routine if you have more/less time available than expected. This optional session is scheduled for a Saturday but can be completed on any day, provided the extra fatigue does not detract from the other sessions.

The plan contains instruction for using power, heart rate and/or feel to guide the training. Using a power meter will undoubtedly give you an edge when completing the plan but if this is not an option then heart rate and feel (rating of perceived exertion or RPE) are perfectly adequate. Many of the workouts also benefit from use of a home trainer but all can be done on the road if necessary.

Sample Day 2
1:15:00
LOW CADENCE BLOCKS

Within an otherwise steady ride (zones 1-3) at freely chosen cadence, perform specified blocks at a cadence of 50-70rpm. Aim to keep upper body still and relaxed and keep pressure on the pedals all the way around the pedal stroke. These can be performed on flat roads of climbs. Recovery between each rep should be at 'normal' freely chosen cadence (generally 85-100rpm) Progression comes from lower cadences within the above range, increase in power output, or in the typical way with intervals - longer reps/more reps/less recovery.

Sample Day 3
1:15:00
BRISK

Whole ride on the zone 2/3 border. Aim to be as smooth and consistent as possible with as much time plus or minus 10W or 5bpm from the zone 2/3 border (lactate threshold).

Include 10-15 minutes of core work and stretching post-ride. The core strength pdf from day 1 is attached (paperclip above!) as a reminder.

Sample Day 4
1:15:00
SWEETSPOT

Training at a 'sweetspot' intensity is a very powerful stimulus for improvements in "Maximal Lactate Steady State" (or FTP or 25 mile TT pace). This intensity is considered a balance point: the intensity is great enough that lactate metabolism is under considerable stress - the body is forced to adapt to low blood and muscle pH and improve the shuttle mechanisms that allow lactate to be shifted to other cells more suited to lactate metabolism; yet the intensity is not so great that it significantly limits the volume of training that can be carried out at this intensity.
WARM UP: ensure 15 mins warm up before starting the efforts, worth considering having this contain 5 mins in low end zone 3 to make sure the engine is ready, include this time within the session duration.
MAIN SET: perform specified blocks of effort at the uppermost end of zone 3 i.e. approx 90% of your 25 mile power (or FTP). THIS IS NOT A FULL-ON ZONE 4 EFFORT, but more controlled.
COOL DOWN: add 10 mins of spinning onto session duration if required, not included in session duration

Sample Day 6
1:00:00
OPTIONAL: FAST PEDALS/SPIN UPS

OPTIONAL: Fast pedals
MS: Zone 2 ride with 8 x 30s blocks, bringing cadence up to as fast as possible without bouncing in the saddle. Take a minute of normal pedalling between efforts

Sample Day 7
3:00:00
TEMPO BLOCKS

Tempo blocks
No warm-up / cool down is required, session duration is total session time
MS: Zone 2 ride with blocks of zone 3. Aim for mid zone 3 for intervals specified below, and try to keep the effort as steady as possible.

Sample Day 9
1:15:00
LOW CADENCE BLOCKS

Within an otherwise steady ride (zones 1-3) at freely chosen cadence, perform specified blocks at a cadence of 50-70rpm. Aim to keep upper body still and relaxed and keep pressure on the pedals all the way around the pedal stroke. These can be performed on flat roads of climbs. Recovery between each rep should be at 'normal' freely chosen cadence (generally 85-100rpm) Progression comes from lower cadences within the above range, increase in power output, or in the typical way with intervals - longer reps/more reps/less recovery.

Sample Day 10
1:15:00
BRISK

Whole ride on the zone 2/3 border. Aim to be as smooth and consistent as possible with as much time plus or minus 10W or 5bpm from the zone 2/3 border (lactate threshold).

Include 10-15 minutes of core work and stretching post-ride.

Dan Henchy
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PBscience

I'm currently working with the GB para cycling team so unable to take on any 1-2-1 coaching clients. Please do check out the training plans!